Online Individual Development Plans

Online Tool for Creating and Completing IDPs

IDPs are working action plans to support mentoring and provide a basis for reflection and discussion. Individual Development Plans are relevant and beneficial for all disciplines across the social sciences, humanities, and STEM.

The online IDP allows graduate programs to work from a template and custom design IDP forms for each degree program and track.  Students can access the IDP form created for their specific program or track.  Entries are saved securely.  Completed IDPs may be reviewed by faculty advisors or mentors, and by program directors or designates, according to a process developed by the program.

The innovative SGS IDP portal is distinct from other online IDP resources in that it covers a robust range of topics for student reflection. With the SGS IDP portal, students can set specific and time-bound goals; reflect on achievements and major milestones; and track progress on their coursework, teaching, and  community engagement activities. 

Because SGS programs have the flexibility to personalize their IDP forms, students across the social sciences, humanities, and STEM disciplines can complete IDPs that are highly tailored to their program and track. The SGS IDP portal streamlines communication and facilitates the planning process by serving as a central hub for students to dialogue with their faculty advisor and Graduate Director about their plan.

Students, faculty advisors, and Graduate Directors may login to the IDP portal with their NetID and password to create, complete, and review IDPs.

Note that students in the Biomedical Sciences need to complete the IDPs specified by their program. Visit here for more information. All students should consult their advisors or Graduate Directors for information about IDPs.

For questions about the online IDP platform, contact individualdevelopment@grad.rutgers.edu

 

Log in to the IDP platform

Many graduate schools and research agencies encourage the use of Individual Development Plans (IDPs) across disciplinary areas to foster reflection and communication about students’ goals, aspirations, needs and accomplishments. IDPs are living documents that are designed to be useful tools for students – in collaboration with their faculty mentors and advisors – to:

Assess skills, strengths, and interests;

Facilitate professional planning and long- and short-term goal-setting;

Develop a basis for communication about their academic and professional trajectory;

Acknowledge achievements over the course of study;

And identify resources, training, or support they may need to meet their academic and professional goals.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (2019). The science of effective mentorship in STEMM. The National Academies Press.

In the spirit of fostering a climate of engaged mentorship and personalized advising, the Executive Council of the School of Graduate Studies voted on April 20, 2021, to require that all graduate programs provide students with the opportunity to complete Individual Development Plans (SGS policy 1.2.7.).

The secure online IDP portal was developed as a flexible resource to facilitate this process.

To learn more about completing, revising, and storing IDPs, graduate students can:

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make edits to an IDP I’ve already submitted?

Yes. If you have completed and submitted your IDP and the IDP status is “In Advisor Review” or “In Director Review,” you can withdraw the submission. This will remove it from the review queue, and you will be able to make edits to the IDP.

If your IDP status is “Needs Revision” because your faculty advisor or graduate director requested revisions to the form, you can make edits to the IDP and then send it back for review.

If your IDP status is “Approved,” meaning it has been approved by both their faculty advisor and the graduate director, the IDP is considered final, and you may not make changes to that specific submitted IDP. However, you may begin a new IDP and import responses from a previously submitted IDP at any time.

 

My IDP is approved, but I want to make changes. What should I do?

Once your IDP has been approved by both your faculty advisor and the graduate director, the IDP is considered final. However, you may start a new IDP at any time and you can import your responses from previously submitted IDPs. You can continue to revise this new IDP at your leisure with or without submitting it to your advisor. You may choose to hang on to this working IDP until the next time your program asks you to submit one, or you may decide you want another conversation with your advisor about the changes you’ve made, in which case you many submit this new IDP for their feedback.

 

Can I share my IDP with people other than my faculty advisor?

Yes. While you may only list one person as your faculty advisor who is responsible for conducting the initial review of your IDP, you have the option to “Share” your IDP after completing it. This generates a shareable link that you can distribute to other mentors or advisors.

 

Do I have to tell my faculty advisor once I submit my IDP?

This is up to you and your advisor. The faculty advisor you list on your IDP will receive an automated email notification once you submit your IDP alerting them to log in and review it. At this point, your advisor may wish to schedule a meeting with you to discuss your plans. Be sure to check with your advisor to arrange plans for communicating about your IDP.

 

I don’t have a faculty advisor yet. Who should I list on my IDP form as my faculty advisor?

Check with your graduate director.

 

To learn more about creating, personalizing, and reviewing IDPs, graduate directors are invited to:

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find the School of Graduate Studies policy on IDPs?

The policy and requirements are on the SGS website, under Academic Policies, section 1.2.7.  The policy applies to doctoral programs and research-based master’s programs. Programs are not required to use the online IDP platform as long as the IDP the program uses meets the requirements in the policy.  An exception is for the 7+ year addendum (policy 1.3.9), which requires using the platform.

 

What information on the IDP does SGS collect?

At this time SGS will be collecting the blank IDP form(s) used by the programs and the 7+ year addendum.

The IDPs completed by the students are regarded as confidential communications between the student and: the student's advisor, the Graduate Director, and any other program faculty member or administrator designated by the student or by the program's Graduate Director. SGS has access only to (a) blank IDP forms created by programs and (b) any completed 7+ year addendum (the 7+ year addendum is currently required by SGS policies). 

 

What is process for reviewing student IDPs?

Once a student submits an IDP, the IDP is routed to the faculty advisor the student listed on their form. Through the IDP platform, the advisor may request revisions or approve the IDP. If the advisor requests revisions, the IDP is routed back to the student who can then make edits before re-submitting the IDP. If the advisor approves the IDP, the IDP is routed to the graduate director for their review and approval.

Faculty advisors or other faculty should be reviewing and approving the student IDPs because a fundamental goal of the IDP is to encourage communication and dialogues, thereby contributing to mentoring and career development.

Advisors may arrange meetings with their students to discuss their IDP before approving it.

Faculty advisors and graduate directors will receive automated emails regarding students’ IDP statuses and alerting them when an IDP is ready for review.

 

Some students don’t have an assigned faculty advisor yet. Who should they list as their faculty advisor on their IDP form?

This is up to you. You may decide you want students without a faculty advisor to list you, the graduate director, as their advisor. If you do this, you’ll be responsible for both rounds of IDP review (first review from faculty advisor, second review from graduate director).

 

Can I grant access to other program faculty and staff to create or edit IDP templates?

Yes. From the Dashboard on the IDP platform, graduate directors can use the “Delegate Access” feature to designate other people who can create, view, or edit the program’s IDP templates.

 

Can I view the status of all in-progress IDPs?

Yes. Once logged into the IDP platform, graduate directors and those to whom they’ve “delegated access” can select the “Student IDPs” tab. Under “Quick Actions,” select the “Download IDP Completion Report (Across All Years) as CSV” button. This will generate a file where graduate directors can see all IDPs that students have begun, including the status of each IDP, the faculty advisor responsible for initial review of each IDP, and more. This file does not display information about students who have not yet started an IDP.

The Submitted IDPs table on the “Student IDPs” page offers a snapshot view of the IDPs from the current academic year that have been approved by the faculty advisor and have reached the graduate director for their review.

 

How do I know which IDPs are ready for my review, and what do the different IDP statuses mean?

Once logged into the IDP platform, graduate directors can select the “Student IDPs” tab. The Submitted IDPs table shows IDPs for the current academic year that have reached the graduate director review stage. IDPs whose status are “Pending” are awaiting review by the graduate director. IDPs with a status of “Approved” have been approved by both the faculty advisor and the graduate director and are considered final. IDPs with a status of “Needs Revision” means that the graduate director already reviewed that IDP and requested revisions from the student.

Graduate directors will also receive an email notification alerting them when a student’s IDP is ready for their review.

 

How will the faculty advisors in my program know that they are expected to review students’ submitted IDPs?

The IDP is designed as a mentoring and professional development tool to support discussion between advisors and students. Graduate directors are responsible for developing and communicating guidelines and expectations around IDPs to the faculty in their programs. Faculty advisors that students list on their IDP forms will receive auto-notification emails when a student’s IDP is ready for their review.

 

How often and on what schedule should I ask students to complete IDPs?

The schedule for IDP completion is up to the graduate director. Many programs are having students complete IDPs once per year, with a deadline of late Spring.

 

Can I delete submitted IDPs?

No. The IDPs belong to each individual student, and only the student can delete an IDP they’ve submitted.

 

Will SGS notify students to fill out the IDP?

No. Programs should determine a process for notifying and communicating with students about the IDPs.

 

How can I get help using the IDP platform or make suggestions for revisions in the platform?

The fastest way to get help is to email individualdevelopment@grad.rutgers.edu. Suggestions for future revisions can be made through this same email or reaching out to SGS deans directly.

To learn more about reviewing, requesting revisions, and approving students' submitted IDPs, faculty advisors are invited to:

Frequently Asked Questions

What is process for reviewing student IDPs?

Once a student submits an IDP, the IDP is routed to the faculty advisor the student listed on their form. Through the IDP platform, the advisor may request revisions or approve the IDP. If the advisor requests revisions, the IDP is routed back to the student who can then make edits before re-submitting the IDP. If the advisor approves the IDP, the IDP is routed to the graduate director for their review and approval.

Graduate directors may choose not to review IDPs of the students. Faculty advisors or other faculty should be reviewing and approving the student IDPs because a fundamental goal of the IDP is to encourage communication and dialogues, thereby contributing to mentoring and career development.

Advisors may arrange meetings with their students to discuss their IDP before approving it.

Faculty advisors and graduate directors will receive automated emails regarding students’ IDP statuses and alerting them when an IDP is ready for review.

 

How do I know which IDPs are ready for my review, and what do the different IDP statuses mean?

Once logged into the IDP platform, faculty advisors can navigate to the Dashboard to view the status of IDPs that have reached the faculty advisor review stage. IDPs with a status of “Pending” are awaiting review by you, the faculty advisor. IDPs with the “In Director Review” status have already been approved by the faculty advisor and are awaiting review and approval by the graduate director. IDPs with a status of “Needs Revision” have been reviewed by the faculty advisor and the advisor requested revisions from the student, so the IDP has been routed back to the student. IDPs with a status of “Approved” have been approved by both the faculty advisor and the graduate director and are considered final.

Faculty advisors will also receive an email notification alerting them when a student’s IDP is ready for their review.

 

How often and on what schedule should students complete IDPs?

The schedule for IDP completion is up to the graduate director. Many programs are having students complete IDPs once per year, with a deadline of late Spring.

 

Will SGS notify students to fill out the IDP?

No. Programs should determine a process for notifying and communicating with students about the IDPs.